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Love Through The Ages | The First Tooth

Ruth Owen | Wednesday October 12, 2011

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Guide Navigation

  1. Studying For The Exam
  2. Examples From Literature
  3. About The Exam
  4. Further Reading
  5. The Examination
  6. Symptoms of Love, Graves
  7. On Chesil Beach
  8. The Deserter
  9. The Soldier, Brooke
  10. A Lady of Letters
  11. Sonnet 130, Shakespeare
  12. Measure for Measure
  13. Hamlet
  14. Othello
  15. King Lear
  16. Equus
  17. Great Expectations
  18. Enduring Love
  19. Mid-Term Break, Heaney
  20. Your Last Drive
  21. The Going
  22. The Waste Land, Elliot

The First Tooth

Mary Lamb 1764-1847

Sister:
Through the house what busy joy,
Just because the infant boy
Has a tiny tooth to show!
I have got a double row,
All as white and all as small;
Yet no one cares for mine at all.
He can say but half a word,
Yet that single sound’s preferred
To all the words that I can say
In the longest summer day.
He cannot walk, yet if he put
With mimic motion out his foot,
As if he thought he were advancing,
It’s prized more than my best dancing.

Brother:
Sister, I know jesting you are,
Yet O! of jealousy beware.
If the smallest seed should be
In your mind of jealousy,
It will spring, and it will shoot,
Till it bear the baneful fruit.
I remember you, my dear,
Young as is this infant here.
There was not a tooth of those
Your pretty, even ivory rows,
But as anxiously was watch’d
Till it burst its shell new hatch’d,
As if it a Phoenix were,
Or some other wonder rare.
So when you began to walk—
So when you began to talk—
As now, the same encomiums pass’d.
‘Tis not fitting this should last
Longer than our infant days,
A child is fed with milk and praise

Mary, the older sister of Charles is evidently suffering from age-old sibling rivalry. How effective is this poem in expressing the relationship between the two siblings?


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